BadeiDha Moe (BDM) has been working for over ten years in conflict-affected ethnic areas of Myanmar, including parts of Kachin State, Mon State, Southern Shan State, and Northern Shan State. In line with our organization’s focus on incorporating land and natural resource concerns into community harmonization, we have been educating, documenting, and advocating on the land and natural resource issues affecting communities in these areas. Our project includes providing land, gender & peace training to community members, documenting land disputes, and presenting land disputes to key stakeholders in the peace process. The goal of this work is to integrate the resolution of land disputes into the ongoing peace process in Myanmar.
This analysis paper exposes the reality of land disputes at the community-level in four conflict-affected ethnic minority regions of Myanmar, as part of a broader strategy to inform the national peace process. It presents the real on-the-ground situation of land conflicts, the communities’ perspectives, and identifies factors that facilitate amicable resolution. It is our hope that the presentation of the issues will strengthen processes for land dispute resolution and highlight the need for prioritizing land tenure issues within the country’s ongoing peace talks towards national reconciliation.
Our organization collected the data and produced this analysis paper whilst the Myanmar government and a number of Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAOs) engaged in a series of discussions commonly referred to as the 21st Century Panglong. One of the stated objectives of these discussions is ‘To establish in conformity with the political dialogue a union based on federalism fully ensuring the rights to national equality and self-determination. The current negotiations directed at achieving peace in Myanmar are, like similar negotiations in other contexts, highly complex. Many of the issues included in this process interlink with the prosperity of these people, the most notable being the need to address their claims to land.